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The Resource Stray city : a novel, Chelsey Johnson

Stray city : a novel, Chelsey Johnson

Label
Stray city : a novel
Title
Stray city
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Chelsey Johnson
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"A hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age and modern family drama, set in the queer underground of late 90s Portland, that explores the complications of belonging -- to a city, a culture, and a family -- and what happens when those forms can't quite contain who you really are"--
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
RUSA Reading List, 2019.
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Johnson’s terrific debut is set in Portland, Oregon, beginning in the late 1990s. After Andrea Morales’ parents, back home in Nebraska, found out about her girlfriend, they stopped paying her Reed tuition. Andy scrapped together one more semester before dropping out; Portland, though, she’d never quit. A handful of years later, Andy emerges from the haze of a wrenching breakup, landing directly in the arms of musician Ryan, who’s genuine and just available enough and seems to understand everything about Andy, except that she’s gay. Disturbed that she’s (mostly) enjoying their dalliance and terrified of explaining their arrangement to her fellow members of the Lesbian Mafia, Andy keeps things mum (plus the secrecy is kind of hot). It’s a sticky situation, and then Andy finds out she’s pregnant. Spanning several eras, up to Andy’s present day, this is a coming-out and coming-of-age story; a surprise-I’m-pregnant story; a will-they-or-won’t-they love story; and an ode to a time and place we think we’ve heard everything about—and it’s all utterly fresh. Portraying Portland and Andy’s chosen family with feeling and immense charm, Johnson paints Andy’s love—for her kid, her city, herself, and others—in all its thorny nuance and surprising glory. Recommend this to Jami Attenberg and Rainbow Rowell fans. -- Bostrom, Annie (Reviewed 2/1/2018) (Booklist, vol 114, number 11, p29)
  • Johnson's fast-paced novel goes far beyond a typical coming-of-age story. In the late 1990s, Andrea Morales moves halfway across the country to Portland, OR, to attend college, where she experiences culture shock, prompting her to come out. Meanwhile, her Midwestern conservative family discovers she is a lesbian and severs ties—emotionally and financially. Andrea then immerses herself in the indie music scene and begins to build a family from her circle of friends, who turn out to be a tremendous support system when she becomes pregnant. The pregnancy is a result of Andrea's relationship with a male friend, and readers follow her exploration of her identity. The conflict and angst she experiences with her family, as well as within herself regarding her sexual orientation, are honest and genuine. Readers, especially those dealing with similar issues, will relate to this complex protagonist. Adding to the title's appeal, Johnson retains a sense of humor in the realistic dialogue among the well-developed characters, even as she handles serious issues in a frank manner. VERDICT A worthwhile addition to recent historical fiction.—April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL --April Sanders (Reviewed 05/01/2018) (School Library Journal, vol 64, issue 5, p109)
  • Johnson’s smart and delightful debut is narrated by Andrea, a college student and self-described member of the Lesbian Mafia. The novel is set mostly in late-’90s Portland, but also flashes back to Andrea’s repressive adolescence in Nebraska and forward a decade for its final section. Fresh from a painful breakup, Andrea receives a second emotional blow at the club where she goes to commiserate with her friends: she spots her ex, Flynn, in intimate conversation with her closest confidant, Vivian. This, and an abundance of alcohol, lead to a one-night dalliance with Flynn’s friend Ryan, a hairdresser and aspiring musician. Andrea’s fling with Ryan blossoms into a relationship, and she works to keep it secret and to understand her attraction to him, which unnerves her. When an unplanned pregnancy intervenes, must her life become conventional? A chief pleasure of the novel is its shagginess, reflected in Andrea’s “mostly hopeful,” unambitious, but inquisitive life. Johnson taps into a nostalgia for a reader’s youth and a simpler time, and the story keeps its vitality and humor throughout. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed 01/08/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 02, p)
  • DEBUT No one appreciates a sense of community quite like an exile, and this first novel revolves around the lesbian community in pre-gentrification Portland, OR. Like many other queer kids, Andrea Morales settles in the city after being cut off by her family for being gay. She gets by well enough with several part-time jobs, a rotating cast of roommates, and the many friends who serve as her new family. Her love life is a mess, however, and she finds it hard to avoid her ex around town. There is one area in which she finds some space and peace, though; surprisingly, it is with a man, Ryan. Andrea remains ambivalent about the relationship, and when she becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby, Ryan bails. Ten years later, her daughter Lucia is starting to ask questions about her father, and Andrea needs to confront her past decisions while supporting her daughter's self-discovery. VERDICT This is a good choice for readers looking for an enjoyable read embracing complex and believable characters with the added benefit of an affectionate portrait of underground culture in Portland in the 1990s. [See Prepub Alert, 9/25/17.] --Devon Thomas (Reviewed 01/01/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 1, p88)
  • A debut novel about the families we're given and the families we create. Andrea Morales is reeling from multiple romantic disappointments when she does the unthinkable: she has sex with a man. What should have been a one-time hook-up turns into a regular thing because it feels good to be wanted, and Ryan wants her. Of course, Andy has to keep this act of heresy a secret from the "lesbian Mafia," but that becomes impossible when she gets pregnant and decides to have a baby. The first section of this novel is set in Portland, Oregon, in 1998 and '99. This is the place Andy lands when she leaves small-town Nebraska and her parents behind. Portland is no Seattle, but there are plenty of hipster signifiers. Andy works in a letterpress studio. Her friends include a stripper and an apprentice tattoo artist. Just about everybody's in a band. In Andy's voice, Johnson depicts these people and this time with a fondness that borders on overfondness. Every detail is precious, and Johnson is sometimes given to overwriting. The amount of time that passes between Andy and Ryan's first night together and their eventual split is just a few months, but it takes up more than half the book. There's a short middle section devoted to a brief period in which Andy and Ryan are negotiating their future. This is told mostly in phone messages and unsent letters, and the device works to convey disconnect and miscommunication. A decade has passed by the time we reach the third section, and this is where one might wish that the first part of the novel had been tightened up to allow more development here. Andy is happily settled with Beatriz, the love of her life, when 10-year-old Lucia gets curious about her father. This part of the narrative feels rushed. Neither Beatriz nor Lucia emerges as anything more than sketches, and all-grown-up Andy and Ryan get short shrift, too. Still, this is a welcome look at a happily unconventional family. Quirky and sweet. (Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2018)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10624034
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1975-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Johnson, Chelsey
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Sexual minority community
  • Lesbians
  • Single mothers
  • Identity (Psychology)
  • Self-realization
  • Portland (Or.)
Target audience
adult
Label
Stray city : a novel, Chelsey Johnson
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000060423031
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
416 pages
Isbn
9780062666680
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2017021666
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Label
Stray city : a novel, Chelsey Johnson
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000060423031
Dimensions
22 cm.
Extent
416 pages
Isbn
9780062666680
Isbn Type
(hardcover)
Lccn
2017021666
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n

Library Locations

    • Lionel Bowen Library and Community CentreBorrow it
      669-673 Anzac Parade, Marouba, NSW, 2035, AU
      -33.938111 151.237977
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